View Full Version : Lathe, How fast can I go??

12-11-2003, 02:48 PM
Hi, I have been offered an old (1930 ish) Colchester Master with a top speed of 550 rpm or so, How fast can I make this thing go(by way of faster motor & pully's etc)without blowing the shed up.
Idealy I want 1500 RPM.
Does anybody have any info on this type of lathe OR Does anybody in the U.K have a 36" between centres lathe with 1500 RPM Screwcutting gearbox and a clutch that they want to sell?? If so please drop me a line with your phone number and I will give you a ring
Thanks, James.

Spin Doctor
12-11-2003, 02:52 PM
The question is what kind of bearings and lubrication system does it have and what diameter are the bearing jounals if is babbit or broze bearings

12-11-2003, 02:55 PM
Thanks Spin doctor, this is the problem... not knowing anything about the machine, and it's 500 miles away!

12-11-2003, 06:46 PM
Have a read here. It appears that some of these models were run up to 1500 rpm.


12-11-2003, 07:09 PM
Just guessing, I'd say the spindle bearings shouldn't have a problem at 1500 rpm. I'd be more concerned about the maximum safe speed of your chucks.

The noise of the gears may be pretty alarming "at speed," but I doubt it would be dangerous.

Rich Carlstedt
12-11-2003, 10:17 PM
For you Nubies out there, all chucks are rated for max speed. run them too fast and they can explode.
Case in point, we bought a 36" Pyoreba (Polish)lathe with a 28" chuck the lathe was geared to run 1400 as I recall, but the Cast Iron Chuck was only rated for 900 Rpm.
Scrap the chuck and bought a "Semi Steel" one which had a higher speed to match the RPM of the machine.
So always be aware of your max capability on chucks, and of course Cast Iron is great stuff, but Semi-Steel is needed for the R's

12-12-2003, 05:18 AM

Good point. I can run my lathe to 6000 because it has a forged steel chuck rated for 6500. If James is unsure of the limit of the chucks he has he should not change the speed at all.

12-12-2003, 06:29 AM
Thanks all, perhaps i'll give this one a miss and look for a more sutable machine, There are plenty of short bed lathes out there but I make bagpipes and need to mount 16" gundrills in the tailstock, so longbed versions are a must.